DaimlerChrysler Presents Its First Combined Sustainability Report: '360 degrees'DaimlerChrysler has for the first time published a combined Sustainability Report. Titled “360 DEGREES,” the publication covers the 2005 reporting period. In creating it, the company combined two publications that have a long tradition: the Environ-mental Report and the Report on Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

“This new publication stands for our holistic approach to ensuring sustainability,” states Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of DaimlerChrysler AG and Head of the Mercedes Car Group. “In addition to pursuing long-term business success as a fundamental goal, we are committed to protecting the environment and addressing social requirements within our company and in society in general.”

The coverage of DaimlerChrysler’s sustainability activities in 2006 rests on three pillars: the publication “360 DEGREES — MAGAZINE on Sustainability 2006,” the report “360 DEGREES — FACTS on Sustainability 2006” and an equivalent website.

The FACTS-Report comprises sections titled “Global Group and Global Citizen,” “Economy,” “Ecology” and “Employees and Society.” This compendium provides a comprehensive overview of DaimlerChrysler’s strategies, activities and progress with respect to sustainability. The printed version of the FACTS-Report is supplemented by content on the Internet, at www.daimlerchrysler.com/sustainability.

In an “External Statement”, Öko-Institut e.V., Berlin, gives its assessment of the DaimlerChrysler Sustainability Report. In addition to concluding that DaimlerChrysler has made significant progress in its sustainability activities, the institute also calls for the company to accelerate its efforts to master the challenges that remain and to take the next steps required to achieve mobility that is even more sustainable. Öko-Institut is one of Europe’s leading independent research and consulting organizations in the field of sustainable development.

The report “360 DEGREES – FACTS on Sustainability 2006” and DaimlerChrysler’s online presentation on sustainability take their lead from the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI guidelines represent the globally recognized requirements to be met by companies in their reports on sustainability. They also provide stakeholders with a portrait of companies’ achievements in the area of sustainability that is not only transparent, but also provides a sound framework for comparison. Using GRI as a basis, DaimlerChrysler will be further expanding its reporting on sustainability, and the integrated Sustainability Report will serve as a platform that makes it possible to offer even more comprehensive coverage of sustainability-related issues.

In the section of the MAGAZINE titled “Living Values” writers and photographers focus on activities that exemplify DaimlerChrysler’s commitment to sustainability. The spectrum of the coverage ranges from cultural, ecological and social aspects to technology trends and requirements. The coverage includes a look at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the world’s first car with an environmental certificate, activities and initiatives by socially conscious employees, the German Automotive Academy Afghanistan Gottlieb Daimler, and the company’s long-standing involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Readers will discover other articles dealing with hybrid buses in New York and the advantages of making diversity a central element in human resources policy. Also included are news on the benefits of using modular BLUETEC diesel technology in passenger cars and commercial vehicles, the Group’s activities in sponsoring art and cultural programs, and the work performed in the Customer Assistance Center. In other words, readers of the MAGAZINE will gain an entertaining and informative impression of sustainability issues and a clear illustration of the various factors that shape the company’s sustainable activities.

Cadillac showcases new SLS at Auto China 2006The General Motors China Group recently reported another sales record for the first nine months of 2006 (645,680 vehicles). These record sales are driven by Buick (+ 27.8 percent), Chevrolet (+51.0 percent), Cadillac (+27.1 percent) and Wuling (+38.7 percent), China's number one brand of mini-vehicles. At "Auto China 2006", this year''s international motor show in Beijing, Shanghai GM is showcasing new models such as the Cadillac SLS and Escalade. In addition, an important new offering from the Wuling brand is to be
premiered. Furthermore, GM concept cars such as the Saab Aero-X, Buick Enclave and Chevrolet WTCC Ultra will make their public debuts in China.

GM''s luxury brand, Cadillac has enjoyed remarkable success since its introduction to the China luxury market in 2004. The Cadillac China portfolio, consisting of the CTS sedan, the XLR roadster and the SRX crossover, will now be complimented with the all-new SLS and the Escalade SUV. Based on the STS sport sedan, the SLS has been lengthened by 100mm to add rear Seat legroom. The interior is designed to meet specific local needs in this primarily chauffeur-driven luxury segment. Three engine options will be available which include the 2.8L V6, a 3.6L V6 and the top-level Northstar 4.6L V8 with 239kW/320hp. The new SLS will be built at the Shanghai GM plant for the Chinese market.

"The Cadillac SLS is a very important addition to our line-up in China as it meets very specific market needs," said Jim Taylor, general manager of Cadillac. "Cadillac reacts to country specific requirements and is proud to offer the SLS to Chinese luxury customers who demand extra space in the rear and other features." Earlier this year, Cadillac introduced the new BLS sedan in Europe and other international markets to satisfy the need for a smaller Cadillac model and a turbodiesel engine option.

"The Cadillac SLS is a strategic addition for the Cadillac brand in China, which will enable Cadillac to strengthen its presence in the luxury sedan market," said Mr. Ding Lei, president of Shanghai GM.

"The new Cadillac SLS and Escalade as well as the new offering from Wuling will strengthen our position as the market leader in China. GM''s multi-brand approach in China enables us to successfully compete in all important segments of the fastest growing market in the world. I am looking forward to finishing 2006 as another year of record growth for GM in China," said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of the GM China Group.

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Cadillac
Technorati Profile

'Golden Steering Wheel' to the Volvo C30The Volvo C30 has garnered one of the automotive industry’s most prestigious awards − the German Das Goldene Lenkrad. This is the third time that Volvo Car Corporation has won this award.

Volvo Cars CEO and President Fredrik Arp accepted the golden steering wheel at a distinguished ceremony in Berlin yesterday.
“We are very proud of this award. It is proof that our cars hold a prominent position, even in the toughest competition,” says Fredrik Arp.

The Volvo C30 won the “Compact Estate” class. The jury, which consisted of 25 automotive experts from different countries, put Volvo’s smallest model in first place in six of the fifteen categories. The Volvo C30 took second place in five categories.

Das Goldene Lenkrad is organised by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, which has a circulation of 2.3 million. Volvo Cars has previously won the award on two occasions − in 2004 with the V50, and in 2000 with the S60.

The C30 has also won a major design award in Germany: the Auto Bild Design Award. The automotive magazine Auto Bild asked its readers what they thought was the world’s most beautiful car. The Volvo C30 won the “small and compact-size cars” class ahead of the Opel Corsa and Honda Civic. The Audi Q7 was the overall winner, with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage in second place.

The Volvo C30 has also achieved success in Italy. In the Italian poll for the world’s most beautiful car, L’Automobile più Bella del Mondo, the choice went to the C30 in the “midsize two-volume saloons” class, ahead of the Nissan Note. In the same poll, the S80 won the category “midsize three-volume saloons.” The award will be presented in Milan, in March of next year.

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Volvo

First prize in Sunday newspaper's automotive competition: Mercedes-Benz CL-Class wins 'Golden Steering Wheel Award 2006'The “Golden Steering Wheel 2006”, presented by the German Sunday newspaper “Bild am Sonntag”, and one of the most coveted automotive honours in Europe, has been won by the new CL-Class. Almost a third of all readers of Germany’s largest-circulation Sunday paper voted for the CL-Class as the best new arrival in the coupé category, putting it in first place by a clear margin. The award was presented last night in Berlin to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG and Head of the
Mercedes Car Group.

The new Mercedes-Benz CL-Class came onto the market this autumn, and the award of the Golden Steering Wheel marks the culmination of a tradition of extraordinary Mercedes-Benz coupés that dates back more than 50 years. Just like its predecessors, the new CL-Class is the embodiment of automotive elegance and exclusiveness, combining as it does exceptional design and equipment levels with superior comfort, exemplary safety and pioneering technology, in a manner unrivalled by any other automotive manufacturer in the world. This leading-edge coupé is fitted as standard with the new PRE-SAFE® Brake, for example, which anticipates an impending collision and takes automatic action to brake the vehicle. Its comprehensive standard equipment package also includes further Mercedes innovations such as the ABC (Active Body Control) active suspension system, the Intelligent Light System and PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection.

Its range of powerful engines ensure that the new luxury coupé, described by ‘Bild am Sonntag’ as a “Titan among coupés“, is as much at home on country roads as on the motorway. The CL 500’s eight-cylinder engine produces 285 kW/388 hp, while the sophisticated 12-cylinder biturbo under the bonnet of the new CL 600 develops 380 kW/517 hp to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds.

With 16 awards to its credit, Mercedes-Benz is one of the most successful automo-tive brands to compete for the “Golden Steering Wheel” award since its inception by ‘Bild am Sonntag’ in 1976. The new CL-Class follows hot on the heels of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which was awarded the “Golden Steering Wheel” last year as the best new arrival in the luxury class.

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Mercedes Benz, Mercedes

Cadillac To Premiere All New 2008 CTS In JanuaryIt is the subject of online discussions, rumors and spy photographers. It is the successor to an award-winning and popular luxury car. And it''s coming in January. Cadillac confirms that the all-new 2008 CTS will make its world premiere in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"Cadillac has engineered an historic renaissance, with a completely new product portfolio, driven in large part by the original CTS," said general manager Jim Taylor. "Success can drive conservatism, but not for Cadillac. The next chapter, beginning in January, promises to be even more dramatic."

The debut of the redesigned 2008 CTS in the marketplace is scheduled for late-summer of 2007 in the U.S., with worldwide exports to follow in the fall. As this new chapter prepares to open, the current CTS model continues to be an automotive success story.

"CTS has built a strong record of success on many levels," Taylor said. "It has exceeded our goals for sales volume, set new design trends, won championships in racing, and earned awards for quality and customer satisfaction."

Cadillac sold more than 61,000 copies of the CTS in the U.S. in 2005, compared to roughly 38,000 in 2002, an increase of 60% over that period. This sustained sales growth over nearly five years is counter to conventional industry logic that says a new car''s hottest sales occur shortly after launch. There are roughly 275,000 CTS owners worldwide, and industry researchers say they are among the most satisfied in the automotive market. AutoPacific rated CTS as the top Entry Luxury Car in its annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards in 2006.

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Cadillac

Volvo Cars is expanding its range of bioethanol-powered FlexiFuel carsVolvo Cars is launching FlexiFuel models powered by renewable bioethanol on several European markets this autumn. The green model range is also being extended and even Volvo’s new C30 will be offered with eco-optimised FlexiFuel power.

Eight new markets
“Interest in ethanol as a vehicle fuel is growing in Europe,” says Gerry Keaney, Senior Vice President Market, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Cars. “We are therefore expanding our range with additional models on a total of 9
markets. First to get Volvo’s FlexiFuel cars outside Sweden will be Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Norway.”
“It’s very encouraging that the market is expanding and that political initiatives are being taken,” continues Gerry Keaney. France has announced that the country will build 500 fuel stations for E85 (a blend of 85% renewable ethanol and 15% petrol) in 2007. The fuel will be produced locally from agricultural products. There are at present 23 plants producing ethanol in Europe and this figure is expected to rise to just over 60 in 2008. All told, about 1.8 million litres of ethanol are produced annually within the EU, primarily from sugar-beet and various grains. Capacity is expected to increase threefold by 2008.

Expanded model range
Three of Volvo’s nine models – the C30, S40 and V50 – are now available in an environmentally optimised FlexiFuel alternative. They are powered by a four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine producing 125 hp. Bioethanol and petrol are both filled in the same 55 litre tank. The fuel hoses, valves and gaskets have all been modified to withstand the more corrosive properties of ethanol. The injection valves have been reinforced and are also larger, since more fuel is injected into the engine because of the lower energy content of E85 compared with petrol. Moreover, the software calibration is updated for ethanol power. The engine management system precisely monitors the fuel mixture in the fuel tank and automatically adjusts both injection and ignition to suit.
Volvo Cars predicts sales of 7,000 FlexiFuel cars in 2007. Most are expected to be sold in Sweden.

Environmental benefits
Ethanol is an entirely renewable fuel and can in principle be produced from just about any biomass source, such as corn, wheat, sugar-beet and cellulose. If the car is run on E85, which is the fuel available at the pumps, emissions of fossil carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, drop by up to 80% compared with the same car running only on petrol.
”A renewable fuel will not on its own be able to replace today’s fossil fuels, and the range of alternative fuels will probably be far wider in the future. Many different fuels and technologies will therefore be developed in parallel. Ethanol reduces dependency on fossil fuels and Volvo’s FlexiFuel programme thus makes a vital contribution to our strategy of environmental sustainability,” concludes Gerry Keaney.

Technical specification
Engine: Four-cylinder petrol/E85 engine
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Max power output: 92 kW (125 hp)
Max torque: 165 Nm at 4000 revs/minute
Acceleration 0-100 km/h in seconds: 10.8 (C30), 10.9 (S40), 11.0 (V50)
Top speed: 200 km/h
Fuel consumption litres/100 km (petrol power): 7.3 (C30), 7.4 (S40), 7.4 (V50)
Carbon dioxide emissions CO2 g/km (petrol power): 174 (C30), 177 (S40), 177 (V50)

Regarding fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions: the figures relate to running on 100% petrol (the certification fuel). Fuel consumption when running on E85 bioethanol is about 40% higher since the energy content of ethanol is lower than that of petrol.

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Volvo, Engine

First SEAT model with shift paddles on the steering wheelThe new Seat León FR 2.0 TFSI with DSG gearshift is now available across the Seat sales network.

This transmission set-up includes steering wheel mounted shift paddles for the first time on a Seat model, adding a sporty feel to manual speed changes, as well as the comfort and safety of not having to release the steering wheel.

Inspired by competition
racing, it is the same system found on the Seat León units that participate at the Supercopa.

Both the 2.0 TFSI and the 2.0 TFSI DSG deliver excellent performance levels.

The León FR DSG reaches a top speed of 229 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. Average fuel consumption remains the same at 7.9 litres.

With the arrival of the 2.0 TFSI with DSG gearshift, the León FR range now includes the following models:


2.0 TFSI 200 hp

2.0 TFSI 200 hp DSG

2.0 TDI 170 hp

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Seat

2007 Dodge Ram SRT-10 'Wildly Powerful' Says NADAguides.comIt's got an 8.3Liter, 500 horsepower V10 Viper Engine that cranks out 525Lb-Ft of torque. Is it a muscle car? A hot rod? Nope. It's a truck -- the 2007 Dodge Ram SRT-10 -- and according to Mark Perleberg, lead auto expert at NADAguides.com, it's a truck built with power and speed in mind. Perleberg recently test drove the SRT-10 and he weighs in on the truck''s performance and styling.

"The 2007 Dodge SRT-10 is wildly powerful," said Perleberg. "It's incredibly quick off the line but yet civilized too -- that is, when you''re not mashing your right foot to the floor. This truck is fast, powerful, stylish and, believe it or not, practical."

The Ram SRT-10, with its V10 Viper Engine linked to a six-speed manual transmission and Hurst shifter, registered a world-record top speed of over 154 MPH with a zero to sixty time in the low 5-second range. The truck is available in either regular or quad cab configuration and two-wheel-drive only.

"In addition to its power and speed, what I like most about this truck is its styling, with polished aluminum wheels, dual exhaust, power-adjustable aluminum racing-style pedals, and exterior aerodynamic appointments," said Perleberg. "In 2005, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 took top billing in the truck category of the NADAguides.com Visitors' Choice Award and we can see why, based on its overall race car-like handling and curb appeal."

Some additional features of the 2007 Dodge Ram SRT-10 include a 508-watt Infinity(R) sound system, push button starter, a four-wheel performance antilock braking system with brake assist and a six foot three inch truck bed.

Perleberg says the SRT's base MSRP of $48,000 might be a bit pricey for some, but considering the truck's appealing design features and power, it's worth the investment in terms of resale value.

"A truck that's this 'in-demand', this cutting edge and this powerful -- with broad appeal to all types of truck owners and enthusiasts -- should maintain its resale value nicely," said Perleberg, "which is an added incentive to shoppers looking to make a solid truck buying investment."

For more information about the 2007 Dodge Ram SRT-10, including side-by-side comparisons of comparable makes and models, as well as pricing and specification data, log onto the new car information section at www.NADAguides.com .

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Dodge

Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Extreme Tire Grabs Two SEMA AwardsDunlop's new Direzza Sport Z1 extreme performance tire received two SEMA International New Product Awards in Las Vegas.

A panel of international media judges selected the street-legal tire at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in the Las Vegas Convention Center. In separate awards, Australia's "Hot 4s & Performance Cars" and Greece''s top enthusiast publisher Option Press recognized the Direzza Sport Z1 tire.

Andy Traicoff, in accepting the SEMA awards, said the new tire features race-like characteristics for drifting, on-track and autocross motorsports and is "a true enthusiast tire. 'Hot 4s' and the Option Press both focus on performance over 'show or style,' and it's nice that they understand the performance credentials of the Direzza Sport Z1.

"This new product is for enthusiasts who want maximum dry-weather traction on the street or at the track," Traicoff said.

Developed and built in Japan for professional drifting, the Direzza Sport Z1 delivers high grip, excellent control and consistency. The extreme performance tire will be available in 17 sizes, beginning in April or May 2007.

The two SEMA international awards are firsts for Dunlop tires.

For more information on Dunlop tire performance, go to http://www.dunloptires.com/

Technorati tags: Automotive, Auto News, Tires

VMI Introduces the First Wheelchair Accessible Honda Odyssey Minivan ConversionVMI today announced it has begun sales of the first wheelchair accessible Honda Odyssey with the Northstar conversion. The company has completed all design, engineering and validation processes with the Honda Odyssey, which is their latest lowered floor side-entry minivan conversion. VMI has more than 150 authorized dealers who have been certified to sell and service the Honda Odyssey with the Northstar conversion.

The Honda Odyssey has earned many significant automotive awards, including the IntelliChoice "Best Overall Van Value of the Year" and "Best Overall Minivan of the Year." The VMI Northstar system is considered the highest-ranked lowered floor side-entry minivan conversion for both quality and reliability, and is time tested with more than 12 years in service. By taking the best-
in-class minivan and modifying it with the finest conversion available, VMI is delivering the best of both worlds.

"Honda is a recognized leader in the automotive industry in quality, resale value, and ride and handling," stated Doug Eaton, President and CEO of VMI. "The Odyssey is the benchmark of product quality in the minivan segment and it strengthens our product lineup. We believe the accessibility of the Odyssey will achieve the level of performance that demanding Honda customers expect."

"The agreement between Honda and VMI extends the reach of Honda, making Honda derived vehicles more accessible to more customers than ever before," said John Watts, Honda product planning manager. "Honda is a mobility company at its core, and offering wheelchair accessibility is consistent with our philosophy."

The Honda Odyssey with the VMI Northstar conversion offers more interior room than any other wheelchair accessible premium minivan on the market allowing for maximum wheelchair maneuverability. The floor is lowered 11 inches to enhance driver line of sight and provide generous headroom.

Other standard features on the Honda Odyssey with the VMI Northstar conversion include a powered in-floor ramp with non-skid surface for unrestricted entry and exit. The PowerKneel(TM) System automatically and gently lowers the vehicle to decrease ramp incline and increase accessibility. The low 8 degree ramp angle provides an almost effortless entry into the minivan and the shorter ramp length allows for parking in tighter places.

VMI purchases the vehicles from Honda, and then modifies them on a new assembly line at its Phoenix based facility. The first Honda Odyssey Northstar conversion vans began shipping to Mobility Dealers nationwide on October 10th.


Toyota and Lexus Salute 'Green' Celebrities at the 16th Annual Environmental Media AwardsToyota and Lexus are Presenting Sponsors of the Environmental Media Awards. This star-studded gala event recognizes the creative teams behind television, film and music productions that raise public awareness of environmental issues by incorporating positive environmental messages in their work. Previous honorees include Daryl Hannah, Edward Norton, and Cameron Diaz, and programs such as Grey''s Anatomy, The Simpsons, and Lilo & Stitch.

"Entertainment is a potent vehicle for raising awareness of environmental issues," said Dian Ogilvie, senior vice president and chief environmental officer of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "The creative teams who are honored with an Environmental Media Award are inspiring people to think and act in ways that benefit our planet."

Toyota, the world leader in hybrid technology, also provides a way for people to act through an everyday choice: the vehicle they drive. Toyota and Lexus combined offer five hybrid models in the United States in the mid-sized sedan, SUV and sports car segments. In all, Toyota''s hybrid vehicles have saved million gallons of gas in the United States, and avoided Y of Co2 emissions. Hybrid sales are led by the Prius, which topped 500,000 worldwide in April. This year, Toyota will sell more than 100,000 Prius in the U.S., which features Toyota''s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

Hybrid Synergy Drive is also featured on the Highlander Hybrid and the Camry Hybrid which debuted in April. Both hybrids are over 70% percent cleaner for smog-forming emissions the average new vehicle on the road. Camry Hybrids are built at Toyota''s manufacturing facility in Georgetown Kentucky, Toyota''s first hybrid built in the U.S.

Last year, Lexus introduced the RX 400h, the world''s first luxury hybrid. The RX 400h combines luxury, performance and cleaner emissions in a sleek package. In April, Lexus launched the GS 450h hybrid luxury sports sedan, the world''s first front-engine, rear-wheel full hybrid.

"Worldwide, Toyota plans to offer hybrid engines in many of our products and we''ve set a goal of one million hybrids by 2010," said Dian Ogilvie. "We''ve made a very big commitment to this technology because it gives people a way to drive what they want, but produce fewer emissions and get higher fuel mileage at the same time."

Toyota''s commitment to the environment goes beyond the hybrid story. The company''s initiatives in North America include recycling, reducing landfill waste, conserving natural resources, using renewable energy, and nurturing strong partnerships with organizations like the U.S. National Parks Service, National Public Lands Day, National Arbor Day Foundation, Audubon Society the American Lung Association, and EMA.

The Environmental Media Association is a non-profit created in 1989 by producers Norman Lear and Alan Horn and their wives Lyn Lear and Cindy Horn. EMA is guided by top Hollywood talents and leading environmentalists. Proceeds from the EMA Awards secure the future of the organization and its work within the entertainment industry to encourage TV and film producers to weave environmental messages into scripts as well as utilizing celebrity as role models.

Citroen C-Crosser: high-end SUVCitroën is continuing to broaden its range with the launch of its high-end SUV, the C‑Crosser, available in Europe from summer 2007. In terms of styling, this new vehicle sits astride the conventional car and four-wheel drive categories, boasting the highest levels of performance, living space and comfort on offer in both of those categories.

With its flowing lines and elegant proportions (4.64 m long, 1.81 m wide and 1.73 m high including roof bars), the C-Crosser combines sporty looks
with a vast interior – up to seven seats – together with an excellent trade-off between comfort and roadholding and all the environmental qualities of its HDi diesel engine and particulate filter.

The C-Crosser is also a highly versatile vehicle owing to its integral transmission system, which guarantees sure-footed behaviour on any kind of road in any kind of weather, and modular cabin layout, designed for a wide array of needs.

Dynamic, status-enhancing body styling

The C-Crosser is instantly recognisable as a Citroën.The dramatic positioning of the chrome chevrons and the streamlined cut of the headlamps are feature stylistic cues of the Marque’s latest creations.

The styling of the C-Crosser emphasises itsrobustness, with curvaceous bumpers and wheel arches, its vitality, with a flowing profile and plunging roof line, and its elegance, with numerous chrome details.

Perfect trade-off between comfort and roadholding

The C-Crosser’s dynamic styling is backed up by impressive on-road performance.
The vehicle is exceptionally responsive and vigorous on the road.

Always a Citroën strong point, the running gear of the C-Crosser – MacPherson at the front and multi-link axles at the back – provides an excellent trade-off between comfort and roadholding,further boosted by special 18-inch Michelin tyres.

A high-performance diesel engine that respects the environment

The C-Crosser will be available at launch with a new 156 bhp EEC (115 kW) 2.2 l HDi diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. This clean diesel engine, fitted systematically with a particulate filter (DPFS), can also run on 30% biofuel (Diester).

Placing the emphasis on driving pleasure and flexible use, it develops torque of 380 Nm while boasting excellent environmental performance and low fuel consumption.

Integral transmission for safe journeys

With the C-Crosser’s integral transmission, drivers get to choose from three transmission settings, depending on road conditions and driving style:four-wheel drive, two-wheel drive and a lock setting recommended for low-grip conditions,all of which are selected using the control behind the gear lever.

Modular design for a wide array of needs

C-Crosser is easy to configure and reconfigure.Occupants can make these interior changes both quickly and effortlessly.

The vehicle can Seat up to seven passengers thanks to a third row of two seats, which can be completely folded away beneath the floor.

Row 2 slides 80 mm back and forth for increased passenger comfort or luggage space.It also features a portfolio-style electrically controlled 60:40 split/fold function using two controls located in the boot.

The seats fold away to provide a completely flat floor together with a vast loading surface.

Another plus: the C-Crosser’s boot opens in two sections.The lower part of the tailgate provides support for 200 kg, making it easy to load bulky objects and perfect as an al fresco seat.

Perfect positioning in the Citroën range

The C-Crosser’s status-enhancing style, generous dimensions (2.67 m wheelbase) and high-level performance perfectly round out Citroën’s range of mid- and top-end vehicles, with the C5 and C6 saloons and C4 Picasso and C8 MPVs.

Meanwhile, the Marque is pursuing its strategy in the compact category with the C1, C2, C3 and C3 Pluriel, four complementary vehicles with extremely individual styling and concepts, to better meet the varied needs of its customers.

Equally at home in the city, on the open road and on rougher ground, the C-Crosser is for people looking for an extremely versatile vehicle that fulfils their desire for freedom and well-being.

New Volkswagen cold and climate test center now in serviceVolkswagen inaugurated the new cold and climate test center at its Wolfsburg plant on Monday. Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Chairman of the Volkswagen Brand, opened the center, with a total area of 5400 square meters, in the presence of 150 invited guests including the Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Ferdinand Piëch. “The new cold and climate test center will significantly reduce development times for our new models because we will be able to conduct a much wider range of
tests in our labs,” said Bernhard. “Our engineers will be able to analyse and optimize development vehicles faster. This will save time and money and make for even higher quality.”

The new center, which cost about 30 million euros, is designed for comprehensive testing under a wide variety of climatic conditions at temperatures ranging from -40 to +150 degrees Celsius. Even direct solar radiation, humidities up to 95 percent, elevations up to 3000 meters and wind blast can all be simulated. "This is an investment that sets new standards for the automobile industry," added Dr. Rudolf Krebs, Head of Engine Development.

From the Fox sub-compact through to commercial vehicles, all Volkswagen models face laboratory testing as one of the key components of technical development. The seven test chambers with highly advanced roller and test rig systems as well as an additional engine test bed are all available for laboratory testing.

Vehicles will no longer be heated or cooled to the test temperatures required in the test chambers themselves, as was previously the case, but in upstream conditioning boxes. Dr. Jens Pohlmann, Head of the Cold and Climate Test Center, explains: "This approach has significantly increased the capacity of the center. We can now carry out about 50 different tests per day in two-shift operation.

In addition, the center features 13 cold and climate test cabinets for component testing. These cabinets, with volumes ranging from 0.5 to 24 cubic meters, are used for testing parts such as injectors, windscreen wipers and doors under extreme climatic conditions.

The cold and climate test center will allow Volkswagen to expedite the product creation process, with considerable cost and time savings. To date, changes in the design and development phase have been very costly and time-consuming. In future, it will be possible to include initial experience with prototypes in the development process at an earlier stage.

The new Maybach 62 S:The world's most powerful chauffeur-driven saloonMaybach, the luxury brand with an illustrious past, re-established just four years ago, is adding a fourth variant to its line-up in the shape of the newly developed 62 S model. The "S" stands for "Special" and draws attention to the fact that the Maybach engineers at the Sindelfingen-based Manufaktur workshops have incorporated a wealth of meticulously developed, special features specified by their highly discerning customers into the new 62 S model. The result is a new dimension in travelling comfort, especially for the passengers in the generously proportioned rear compartment of the new high-end luxury saloon. Not to mention a prodigious power output thanks to the enhanced potency of the twelve-cylinder engine developing 450 kW/612 hp, making the new 62 S model the world''s most powerful chauffeur-driven saloon in series production.

The new flagship model in the Maybach range is celebrating its world premiere at the "Auto China 2006" international motor show in Beijing in November – a move which expends its range of high-end luxury saloons. The Maybach 62 S is primarily designed to be chauffeur-driven and meets the very highest of standards in terms of spaciousness, smoothness and comfort – for a truly relaxing ride – and dynamism for saving that most precious of commodities: time. Precisely what is needed in these increasingly frenetic times.

Exterior boasting a dynamically elegant appearance

Prominent exterior features accentuate the dynamic presence of the new Maybach 62 S and clearly distinguish it from the 62 model. These include a modified front end with a strikingly redesigned radiator grille as well as new, distinctive 20-inch spoked wheels and a modified light-cluster design. Like the 57 S model, the new Maybach 62 S boasts lavish single-tone paintwork in black or silver, both of which are available exclusively for the "S" models. Alternatively, customers can now specify a special paint finish in shimmering white. Discreet "62 S" lettering adorns the front wings beneath the A pillars and the boot lid, while a modified rear apron with two integral, trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes hints strongly at the immense performance potential of the 62 S. This dynamic and elegant appearance puts the Maybach 62 S in a league of its own when it comes to luxurious chauffeur-driven cars.

Further enhance the interior

The contemporary Maybach interpretation of lavish luxury, consummate comfort and superlative dynamism is also reflected in the interior of the 62 S. Here high-grade materials are hand-finished to perfection for a distinctive and particularly exclusive look, all in inimitable Maybach style. Carefully coordinated applications of exquisite piano lacquer and sporty carbon or anthracite poplar create an atmosphere of dynamic elegance both in the rear compartment and in the driver''s direct field of vision and activity. Newly designed, high-grade leather upholstery tastefully accentuates this overall impression.

Twelve-cylinder powerplant and comfort-tuned chassis

Effortlessly superior performance in any situation comes courtesy of a Mercedes-AMG-enhanced V12 powerplant developing 45 kW/62 hp more than the engine specified for the Maybach 62. The twelve-cylinder engine in the Maybach 62 S has a displacement of six litres and an output of 450 kW/612 hp by virtue of a twin turbocharger and a water-type intercooler. The impressive maximum torque of 1000 Nm (electronically limited) is available over a wide engine speed range between 2000 and 4000 rpm. This provides even the most sportily inclined of Maybach drivers with effortless power reserves at all times. With acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in only 5.2 seconds, the new Maybach 62 S impressively demonstrates its outstanding performance potential. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h in chauffeur-driven vehicles.

The exclusivity of the twelve-cylinder powerplant is underlined by a model plate on the cover bearing the signature of the Mercedes-AMG technician who assembled it by hand based on the now familiar "one man, one engine" principle.

In contrast to the sportier configuration of the 57 S model for owner-drivers, which features a stiffer and lower chassis, the Maybach engineers decided to retain the full spring travel for the 62 S in order to achieve an outstanding, practically unsurpassed level of ride comfort. In terms of comfort, the chassis marks the absolute pinnacle of automotive engineering. Yet it also offers a high degree of dynamic potential for reliably transferring the power to the road whatever the scenario. Hence the Maybach developers have succeeded in reconciling, to a near perfect degree, two very different requirements.

Maybach continues its rich tradition

The outstanding attributes of the Maybach 62 S set new standards at the high end of the passenger car industry and also continue the tradition of the legendary Maybach saloons which represented the elite in German and international carmaking circles back in the 1920s and 1930s. Even then, many Maybach cars were built and equipped to be chauffeur-driven – a tradition which the 62 S model is proud to honour.

2007 Jaguar XK wins consumer guide awardThe 2007 Jaguar XK received the Recommended 2007 Award by Consumer Guide® Automotive in the Premium Sporty/Performance Car category. This award is presented every year and highlights outstanding values in 17 segments, including the vehicle''s price, features, accommodation and performance.

"The Jaguar XK has received tremendous acclaim around the world from our customers and media alike. However, we are especially delighted to get this recognition from Consumer Guide® Automotive," said Mike O''Driscoll, president of Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover.

Standing out amongst its competitors, the 2007 XK is the most technologically-advanced car Jaguar has yet built. It offers precision handling, unparalleled excitement and an exhilarating speed – key features of an award-winning vehicle.

In addition, the XK inspires drivers of all abilities with confidence due to its all-aluminum lightweight body, sophisticated transmission and sporting exterior and interior styling cues. This combination perfectly balances the performance of a sports GT cruiser and an exhilarating sports car.

The MSRP for the 2007 XK Coupe is $75,500 and $81,500 for the 2007 XK Convertible.

Consumer Guide® Automotive is a highly regarded source in the automotive industry. The editors who choose the cars for these awards are well respected, well known names in the automotive field, so it is a great honor for Jaguar to be awarded and recognized by Consumer Guide.

2007 Nissan Sentra SE-R to Debut at L.A. Auto ShowNissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced that it will introduce two exciting new performance vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show, November 29th, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

All-new for 2007, the Nissan Sentra will once again have SE-R high performance models; both SE-R and SE-R Spec V. As a pioneer model in the field of sport compact cars, the 2007 Nissan Sentra SE-R offers more power, performance and technology to this highly acclaimed
model. The SE-R Spec V model will be powered by a specifically designed high-output version of Nissan’s 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine. Additional information on the SE-R with be announced at the LA Auto Show on November 29th.

Nissan will also showcase another uniquely styled, exhilarating performance-oriented vehicle, which marks Nissan’s entry into a previously untapped customer segment. Details on the second world debut vehicle are being withheld until Nissan’s press conference on November 29 at 10:00AM PST.

In addition, Nissan will participate in the 2006 Hybrids and Green Cars/LA event that takes place during the media days portion of the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, November 29 and Thursday, November 30. This event will allow attendees an opportunity to drive many advanced technology vehicles from various manufacturers.

Nissan will showcase three products at this ride and drive, including the 2007 Altima Hybrid, the X-Trail Fuel Cell Vehicle and the 2007 Armada Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV).

Ford Mustang armed for pony car warThe 2007 Ford Mustang has been named Most Wanted Convertible Under $35,000 by Edmunds.com editors -- the second time Mustang has won the designation.

"These are the vehicles our editorial team would chose to have in our own driveways," said Edmunds.com editor-in-chief Karl Brauer. Edmunds.com praised the Mustang's performance, retro styling and affordable price.

The Edmunds' honor is just the latest in a string of critical accolades for Mustang that, along with consumer popularity, have spurred competitors to revive their muscle cars, primarily the new Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.

"Without the uncanny success of the Mustang, with its retro styling cues, V8 rumble, brash manner and affordable price, GM and DaimlerChrysler would surely not have bothered replaying these oldies," said Kevin Smith of Edmunds.com.

If this sounds familiar it's because automakers are reliving a scene originally played out some 40 years ago. In what auto writers dubbed the "Pony Car Wars," domestic automakers battled each other in the 1960s and early 1970s to see which company could create the most popular American muscle car.

"We embrace the Pony wars," said James Owens, Mustang marketing manager. "Mustang is the authentic American muscle car. In fact, Mustang is the only one of the original pony cars from the 1960s to live on into the 21 st century with no interruption in production."

In the wake of the Mustang's success in 1964, competing automakers set about developing products to challenge Ford's pony car – the Plymouth Barracuda, the Camaro and Firebird, the American Motors Javelin and the Dodge Challenger.

Times changed, however, and growing concerns over safety, fuel efficiency, environmental issues and insurance costs in the 1970s and 1980s diminished interest in muscle cars.

By 2002, when production of the Camaro ceased, all Mustang rivals had disappeared from the marketplace. Then, in 2004, Ford introduced a Mustang redesign embraced by auto writers and consumers.

"The 2007 Ford Mustang represents a deft blend of classic American muscle car styling cues and modern design," wrote the editors of Edmunds.com "Whether you choose a V6 or V8, a coupe or convertible, this is one of the best values on the market for consumers seeking traditional rear-wheel-drive performance."

One reason for Mustang''s longevity is the car's appeal to a wide range of car buyers.

"Mustang has two kinds of buyers," Owens said. "People under 40 and people over 40. That sounds like a joke, but its true. Our target customer "Drew" is a younger person who likes the Mustang because its basically cool. But our consumption customer is the baby boomer, who no longer needs a Mini van or SUV and who fondly remembers the Mustang of their youth."

While neither competitor is in production yet, the Chevy Camaro concept made a stir at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The production model is expected to be a coupe and reach showrooms during the first quarter of 2009. Specific details are unknown at this point, but GM indicates the Camaro will be offered in a variety of models with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions and V-6 and V-8 engines.

Daimler/Chrysler will debut its new Dodge Challenger in 2009. Details are even scarcer than for Camaro, but a Hemi engine is a good bet.

In another flashback, Ford announced it is reviving the legendary 5.0-liter 302 cubic inch V-8 engine for the aftermarket with a new line of BOSS 302 crate engines, which will go on sale in early 2007. Making its debut in 1969, the original BOSS 302 powered a limited production Mustang model sold for two years, which was known as the BOSS 302. The new line of BOSS crate engines will deliver up to 500 horsepower.

Despite challenges, Mustang's production streak looks destined to continue with sales up more than 30 percent in September 2006 compared with the same period in 2005. Mark Fields, executive vice president and president-The Americas, announced in September that at least one new Mustang variation would be introduced every year.

Ford Fusion reigns as 'Family car of the year' at the 2007 Boston Auto ShowThe Ford Fusion begins its sophomore season with another honor today as it receives the "Family Car of the Year" award from the New England Motor Press Association. The trophy is given during the Boston Auto Show media luncheon at the Bayside Expo Center.

“Put it this way: If you were a teenager looking to borrow the 'family' car," says Ezra Dyer, president, New England Motor Press Association, "you'd be pretty psyched it if that car was a Fusion." The NEMPA jury noted the Fusion's combination of great ride-and-handling, standard safety
equipment and value as the factors that put it on the top of the balloting.

"The phrase 'family car' connotes a dearth of fun," adds Dyer, "but the Fusion combines sedan practicality with a level of behind-the-wheel entertainment that you don't typically get in this class, or at this price. And it looks sharp, too."

The Fusion's fall 2005 debut helped Ford regain share of the U.S. passenger car market for the first time since 1993. Sales have exceeded company expectations as the four-door sedan finished its first model year with 138,000 units sold. With Fusion's help, Ford anticipates increasing its car market share for a second straight year in 2006.

Fusion's success among family buyers is due in part to its emphasis on safety equipment, which includes f ront-seat side air bags and side-impact air curtain now standard on all models, in addition to dual deployment front air bags, energy-absorbing safety belts and load-limiting retractors.

Fusion is often cited for its deft driving performance by offering an all-wheel-drive system that improves traction on slick surfaces or better handling in a curve. Drivers can choose a 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers 221 horsepower. The V6 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission posting fuel economy numbers of 20 miles-per-gallon (mpg) city and 28 mpg highway. The Fusion's I-4 engine delivers 160 horsepower with fuel economy rated at 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

"We are honored that the New England auto media has singled out the Ford Fusion as this year's best choice in family cars," says Steve Grant, Boston Region sales manager, Ford Marketing, Sales & Service. "Fusion continues building a reputation here in the Northeast among customers who are looking for something special from a four-door sedan, especially in winter driving conditions."

Fusion's success isn't restricted to showroom sales. The sedan is a finalist for the coveted North American Car of the Year Award that will be announced in January 2007. Fusion recently was named "One to Watch" by the editors of Consumer Guide.

2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara Recognized as 'Best Buy' by Consumer GuideAmerican Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) has broken its own all-time sales record, rolled out its eagerly anticipated all-new XL7 and SX4, bolstered its dealer network and unveiled an engaging brand campaign. Now, ASMC has announced that its 2007 Grand Vitara has received the prestigious Consumer Guide(R)(1) Automotive Best Buy award. An integral part of Suzuki's life enthusiast brand proposition and its diverse product line, the Grand Vitara has helped drive record-breaking sales and received numerous industry awards since it was first introduced in 2006. The longstanding popularity of the Grand Vitara, coupled with the recent
introduction of the Suzuki XL7 and SX4, has put Suzuki on track to exceed 100,000 vehicle sales for the first time in the company's 21-year history.

The Best Buy award in the Compact Sport-Utility Vehicle category presented by Consumer Guide(R) Automotive was Suzuki's first. Every year, Consumer Guide(R) Automotive editors select new vehicles from the hundreds of cars they evaluate for a Best Buy or Recommended award and choose the best overall values in 17 category segments, ranging from inexpensive compact cars to premium luxury SUVs. A vehicle's price, features, accommodations and its performance during test drives are considered when determining a Best Buy or Recommended award. A Best Buy represents an optimum balance of attributes within its class across 10 rating categories.

The 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara out-paced nearly 20 other compact SUVs in the competition for the Best Buy 2007 award. Other nominees in the Compact Sport-Utility Vehicle category included:

* Acura RDX
* BMW X3
* Ford Escape
* Honda Element
* Hyundai Tucson
* Jeep Compass
* Jeep Liberty
* Jeep Patriot
* Jeep Wrangler
* Kia Sportage
* Mazda Tribute
* Mercury Mariner
* Mitsubishi Outlander
* Saturn Vue
* Subaru Baja
* Subaru Forester
* Toyota Rav4

In addition to its industry award success, the five-passenger Grand Vitara has played a key role in Suzuki''s record-setting sales in 2006. Through the first 10 months of 2006, ASMC has achieved a 25 percent sales increase over the same period in 2005. To date, the company has sold 87,278 vehicles, easily besting the record-setting annual sales of 82,101 vehicles sold in 2005. Suzuki also attributes its record sales to its expanding network of more than 520 U.S. dealers, and America''s # 1 Warranty -- Suzuki''s industry-leading, 100,000 mile, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty.

2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara

First introduced as a 2006 model, the Grand Vitara has garnered much media and consumer acclaim and has won numerous awards. The 2007 Grand Vitara features a standard 185-horsepower, 2.7-liter, V6, 24-valve DOHC engine, a sophisticated available Four-Mode full-time four-wheel-drive system, tough unibody construction enhanced with a built-in ladder frame and an extensive list of interior amenities and standard safety features.

The list of standard safety features is extensive: ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP)2, including traction control, six airbags, three-point driver and front-passenger Seat belts featuring shoulder height adjustment; in the rear seat, each passenger is provided with a three-point Seat belt system and a headrest. With its carefully engineered control layout and close attention to materials and fit-and-finish, the interior of the Suzuki Grand Vitara is functional and attractive.

The Grand Vitara comes in three trim levels: Base, XSport and Luxury. The standard five-speed manual transmission and two-wheel drive starts at an MSRP of $19,379. The Grand Vitara with Luxury Package and Four-Mode full-time four-wheel-drive system tops out at $24,599

2007 Suzuki Full line

Suzuki's diverse product line now features the XL7 and Grand Vitara SUVs and a variety of cars to match the needs of every lifestyle. The 2007 vehicle line also includes the functional SX4 compact crossover, popular and versatile Forenza sedan and Forenza Wagon, European-styled Reno and sporty, yet fuel-efficient Aerio. The entire vehicle line offers something for everyone and exceeds consumer expectations with standout virtues for toughness, leading-edge style and high-end features at prices well below the competition. All 2007 Suzuki automobiles are backed by America's #1 Warranty: 100,000-mile, seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty.

Bentley Seoul UnveiledThe opening ceremony of Bentley Seoul, the first Bentley dealership in Korea, took place on Wednesday morning with other notable guests including His Excellency Mr Warwick Morris, British Ambassador to Korea; Bentley Motors’ Regional Director, Mr Julian Jenkins; Chairman of Charmzone Co., Ltd, Mr Kwang Seok Kim and President of Bentley Seoul, Mr Han Zun Kim.

“We were honoured to
have the Deputy Prime Minister officially open the Bentley Seoul dealership announcing the arrival of Bentley and our unique motor cars to this exciting and vibrant country”, says Julian Jenkins, “Our dealer partner, Bentley Seoul, has invested significantly in creating a magnificent facility that provides the perfect platform to showcase our exclusive models.”

In addition to the new showroom, Bentley Motors Korea’s appointed dealer partner, Bentley Seoul, has developed a dedicated Bentley service site in Songpa-Gu to offer the highest level of support for both new and existing Bentley owners with factory trained technicians and specialist equipment.

The Deputy Prime Minister officially opened Bentley Seoul as part of a two-day visit aimed at further strengthening the relationship between the UK and the Republic of Korea.

Nissan Versa HatchbackNissan today revealed a stunning lineup of vehicles at the 2006 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. Nissan will showcase seven custom Versa 5-door hatchbacks, a custom Titan truck, designer-inspired Pathfinder and Armada, and Championship-winning Nissan Motorsports Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) race trucks from Tuesday Nov. 1 through Friday Nov. 4 at the Nissan booth (Booth #33945).

“Nissan products, from our 350Z to our Maxima, Altima, Titan and other models, have always provided a performance-oriented foundation for personalization and customization, offering tremendous canvases for creative expression by our customers,” said Bill Bosley, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. “This year’s SEMA Show is especially exciting because we’re getting a first look at what the performance aftermarket can do with our all-new 2007 Versa
– and the results are stunning.”

New for the 2007 model year, the Nissan Versa represents a dynamic alternative to current entry-level hatchbacks and sedans. Built on Nissan’s proven B-platform, the stylish new Versa offers a spacious cabin with exceptional rear leg room, a high quality interior and comfortable, stress-free environment. With a starting MSRP of $12,550, the Versa hatchback features a standard 122-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine and a choice of three transmissions, including Nissan’s advanced Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) that provides smooth shifting and enhanced fuel efficiency.

Versa includes with a long list of standard and available equipment, including available Intelligent Key, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, satellite radio and Rockford Fosgate-powered subwoofer.

Also on display are a Nissan Pathfinder and Armada customized by famed fashion designer Mark Ecko. Ecko gave both vehicles a hip, new design inspired by his *ecko unltd. and Cut & Sew clothing lines. In addition to the two custom vehicles, Mr. Ecko has created limited edition, co-branded hooded jackets, woven button-downs, t-shirts, leather key chains and other items that are given away at events and sold online through www.nissan.eckounltd.com.

Proceeds from these sales will benefit Sweat Equity Enterprises (SEE), a nonprofit organization that empowers at-risk teens to learn professional design and technology skills while working behind the scenes in leading design companies.

“The Ecko Pathfinder and Armada show a level of modification previously unseen, from an unlikely source,” said Bosley. “We’re honored that SEMA participants will be able to enjoy these vehicles from Marc Ecko on with our own ‘runway show’ at the height of what would be considered the automotive industries’ fashion week.”

Mazda asks lett chief and company car drivers: are you 'Zoom - Zoom' enough to take the challenger?Almost 500 fleet decision-makers, user-chooser drivers and key staff at contract hire and leasing companies are to take-up Mazda’s ‘Zoom-Zoom Challenge’ in November as the fast-growing fleet manufacturer bids to further increase its market share.

To be held at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire on November 7, 8, 9 and 10, the ‘Zoom-Zoom Challenge’ will see the Mazda brand experience delivered directly to customers, potential
customers and industry influencers.

On each of the four ‘Zoom-Zoom days’ attendees will be able to drive the Mazda MX‑5, Mazda6 MPS, Mazda RX-8 PZ and the new MX-5 Roadster Coupe around a high-speed bowl and on Millbrook’s well-known alpine circuit. The 120 people split into morning and afternoon sessions each day will also test the handling characteristics of the Mazda range on a driving dynamics course as well as be put through their paces on a short timed race circuit.

‘Zoom-Zoom Challenge’ attendees will also have the opportunity to take the controls of a helicopter, experience off-road racing and take to the sky on a trampoline in true Zoom-Zoom style.

This year, Mazda expects to sell 17,500-18,000 fleet units out of a total volume of around 50,000 registrations. Last year Mazda sold a total of 45,706 vehicles in the UKof which 15,998 vehicles went to fleets.

Mazda fleet and remarketing director Adam Pumfrey said: “Over the four-day ‘Zoom‑Zoom Challenge’ programme we want customers and prospects to directly sample the Mazda brand experience.

“Mazda has been particularly successful in growing fleet sales through its value for money philosophy, which sees sporty and hi-spec models proving attractive to company car drivers and user-choosers, while class-leading wholelife costs and residual values appeal to fleet operators.

“While some of those attending will be existing customers, many people will be experiencing the Mazda brand and product range for the first time. We have identified these people and their companies and they have agreed to take up the ‘Zoom-Zoom Challenge’, which we hope will lead to long-term business partnerships.

“While this is the first ‘Zoom-Zoom Challenge’, we hope to make it an annual event for fleet decision makers to have fun with the Mazda product and build up a cult following.”

Alfa 8C a dazzling spectacle at the Istanbul AutoShowAlfa Romeo, the first enterprise to come to mind at the mention of Italian style and design, is the most popular brand at the Istanbul AutoShow, both with its display stands and brand new models.

Alfa Romeo is at its most impressive at the Istanbul AutoShow, where it is displaying both its mass-produced models and special versions at an extraordinary exhibit, designed to emphasize the stature of the unique stamp of the brand on the automotive scene. Alfa Romeo’s 696-m2 display stand at the exhibition taking place on
November 2-12 in Hall 5 of the CNR is a tribute to design and passion, the building blocks of the brand’s spirit. Visitors at the Alfa Romeo stand can feel the intensity and aesthetics of Italian style which emphasize and extol the pleasures of life. It is truly the Italian spirit that makes Alfa Romeocome alive. The stand on the fairgrounds has been defined with simple geometrical designs, forming a brilliant frame around the aggressive lines of the automobiles, making them an inevitable center of attraction.

Hot rod with a Volvo heartLeif Tufvesson, who in 2004 won the prestigious “Hot Rod of the Year” award from Hot Rod Magazine, now returns with a completely new car. Leif previously worked for the Volvo Concept Center, and for 6 years was responsible for the development department of the Swedish sports car manufacturer, Koenigsegg. He has now started to construct and manufacture his own cars. His cars have won innumerable prizes over the years and, among others, have received a great deal of acclaim at
the SEMA Show in Las Vegas – the largest exhibition platform for specialist car constructors in the world.

The latest project is a mid-engine hot rod powered by a Volvo V8. The car is completely constructed in aluminum and carbon fiber with an advanced sports car chassis fitted with Öhlin shock absorbers. The question is whether or not this is a genuine hot rod that Leif has now built?

"Actually, it’s a sports car with a design idiom that is a further development of the classic Hotrod. Perhaps it could establish a new school of thought and coin the term Sport Rod. My idea was to build a car that was as much fun to drive as it was to look at. Road-holding characteristics have never been the hallmark of traditional hot rods," says Tufvessson.
The cars are designed with just this in mind – excellent road holding with an ideal 60/40 (back/front) weight distribution

The car is extraordinarily well built, with millimeter precision in every part of the bodywork. The leather interior is exquisitely crafted with a nostalgic retrospective feel. The steering wheel, instruments and gear selector come from Volvo, as does the V8 engine, the 6-speed automatic transmission and the car’s electrical system. The engine is tuned with the environment in mind, and has been converted to ethanol by Scandinavia's leading car tuning company BSR.

Leif Tufvesson has built and designed the entire car himself, though he has taken advantage of his wide contact network of sub-contractors in terms of paint finish, interior fittings and CAD-milling. Everything else is manufactured and assembled in his workshop in the old brickworks outside Ängelholm in the south of Sweden.

It has taken Leif less than two years to build his SEMA display car and one similar to it, which is residing back home. The two cars are identical, though in different colors. Leif and his company, Caresto, a name also sported on the grill of the car, had two objectives when building the cars: "On one hand the aim is to sell the cars and it is my hope to build at least six examples of this particular model. On the other hand it is, in fact, for my own enjoyment’s sake, because I love building cars. It’s my hobby and at the same time, it’s my job."

An interested buyer would have to be prepared to pay around 2.5 million Swedish kronor (approximately $338,000). But then, he would also have a tailor made and unique car, manufactured in extremely high-tech materials and with the high performance of an advanced sports car.

Many experts within the motoring world have praised Tufvesson for the high level of quality and attention to detail on his cars. The whole exterior and interior design has also received equal amounts of acclaim – an area where Leif has collaborated with car designer Per Gyllenspetz, who, with his 20 years of design experience, has guided the design.

A number of the car’s different components deserve special mention. The removable composite hardtop is a great example of Tufvesson's craftsmanship. The three integrated rear-view cameras, the advanced techniques of the rear lights as well as the CAD-milled aluminum details such as wheel spindles, exhaust panel, interior details and the lamp housing for the Hella Xenon headlights. A detail such as the temperature controlled hood that opens automatically for additional cooling just shows how everything has been completely well thought through.

And finally, Tufvesson has also succeeded in producing an extremely inspiring exhaust note from Volvo’s new V8 engine. It sounds more racing than cruising, which is perhaps the hallmark of a real Sport Rod.

Mazda's CX-7 crossover suv gets all wicked in sin city transformationMazda’s all-new 2007 CX-7 has been described by critics as “distinctive and sophisticated” and “the SUV you never saw coming.” For the 2006 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, one CX-7 will turn Wicked.

“When I first saw the CX-7 in person, I fell in love with its design – the movement and shapes of the vehicle are extremely bold,” said Dave Green, owner and namesake of DG Motorsports. “The CX-7 is already a highly styled vehicle, which made it a lot of fun to take it to that next level and create art. I knew the job was well done when my teenagers saw it for the first time and gave me the thumbs up.”

The DG Motorsports “Wickedly Red” CX-7 is the latest edition to the family of hot Mazdas. There
is no denying this is a Mazda CX-7 crossover SUV, but a host of exterior modifications create an even more aggressive – somewhat bad-to-the-bone – appearance. Dave Green’s award-winning styling expertise meets Mazda’s tailpipe-kicking CX-7. The immediate WOW-impact of the blazing paint job is equally matched by the body styling components from DG Motorsports appearance package. Large 265/35-22 Pirelli P-Zero tires with high-performance black 22-inch Spinout wheels designed by Perfectly Round complete the exterior design.

The stunning custom red suede Stitchcraft interior designed by Revo continues the exciting exterior design inside. Another custom interior feature is the Sony X-plod audio/video system. Needless to say, Mazda’s all-new CX-7 crossover SUV gets a wickedly sensational makeover.